Monday, November 30, 2009

Saviours - Accelerated Living

Accelerated Living

Is it time for the New Wave of Oakland Heavy Metal? Saviours seem to think so. The quartet takes obvious inspiration from the 80s hard rock of our former colonial masters on its third album Accelerated Living, while somehow not sounding retro at all. The band has the hellbent-for-leather (pants) drive down pat, and works hard to resurrect the days when riffs oozed from every pore. Slave to the Hex, We Roam and the awesomely titled The Rope of Carnal Knowledge kick the proper amounts of ass without pretense or excuses – this band is all about getting the job done, regardless of what label anyone tries to hang on it. Ironically, one of the main elements that sets Saviours apart from its more slavish compatriots is also its weakest link: the vocals. Justin Barber’s raw shout is hardly the kind of soaring powerhouse one usually associates with this kind of trad metal - it’s not the hardcore roar with which he started, but it’s not exactly the charismatic croon a song like Livin’ in the Void needs. Then again, you could also argue that the larynx is beside the point here – Accelerated Living is all about the plectrums and amplifiers.

- Michael Toland

Zoroaster - Voice of Saturn

Voice of Saturn
Terminal Doom

Southern-fried psychedelic doom. Sounds like a dish on the menu in a hip greasy spoon, don’t it? It’s not edible, merely audible, as it’s as good a description as any for the eardrum-abusing sounds provided by Zoroaster. The Atlanta trio digs deep into the Georgia mud for crusty sludge stompers like Lamen of the Master Therion and Undying, which will warm the cockles of any doom-monger’s blackened heart. But it’s tunes like Voice of Saturn and Spirit Molecule that mark Zoroaster as something special – spacey, melodic, experimental, but still grunged all to hell. Even the more straightforward doom metal tracks often have synth bleeps poking out through the smoke – not for nothing are all three members credited with Moog as well as their regular instruments. Plus there’s an untitled piano-based coda that’s, Gog and Magog help us, actually pretty! Zoroaster is more than just another chip off the old Sabbath block – this is doom tailor-made for the when the acid kicks in.

- Michael Toland
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